|There are no breaks in California. Everybody has to take an exam. Not even your MBE score is accepted from another state. The only break--and it's actually a questionable one--is the attorneys bar which is identical to the general bar exam, minus the day of MBE questions. You have to have been licensed in another state and practiced law for 4 out of the last 6 years.|
|The MBE may help your score||
I say it's a questionable benefit because multiple choice tests may be your strength and you may be better off taking that to bring up your score. Remember, though, the MBE is only worth 35% of your grade, so it can only help you to that extent.
California has among the lowest passing rates of any bar in the country. The reason for that is not the MBE; that's the same in every state.
|The essays test the finest points||Attorneys who have passed the bar in another state and have been practicing for awhile are unprepared for two facts of life. First, the bar exam here is geometrically harder than in any other state. The questions don't necessarily give you the issues. And what is tested are the minutest exceptions and limitations of an issue.|
|The Bar Exam is not real life||Second success in real life law practice may fool you into underpreparing for the California Bar exam. The writing and reasoning the exam requires bear little relation to actual law practice.|
|You can't go for the jugular||A busy attorney in real life eliminates theories that he realizes won't succeed. He goes for the jugular. That's not how you demonstrate legal reasoning on the Bar Exam. Even though you can see a theory will not succeed, you must raise it, define it, walk through each element step by step then conclude that it fails. That's hard for someone who's been out in the real world.|
|Performance tests are puzzles||
Probably your greatest shock will be the Performance Tests which sound like what you do every day in your law office. Believe me, you never had to read, digest, analyze and write this demanding a task in three hours in real life. The Performance Test is a puzzle. And just like double crosstics or scramble, it has it's own style with conventions, similarities, patterns and rules to it. With expert guidance, you see for yourself how performance tests fall into predictable patterns with a set number of issues. The advantage is you will find the issues more quickly, find the rules more quickly and be more confident in your analysis.
You are impatient and more set in your ways than someone right out of law school. The best way for you to save your time is to take the course that identifies the issues that are tested regularly so you can learn the minutiae of the exceptions and limitations. You need someone to hand you the rules to memorize. You thought you were through with memorizing after you learned the multiplication tables, but I can guarantee you that you cannot rely on a general understanding of the concepts to pass the California essay exam.
|The best way to save your time is to take the course||You probably also need someone to keep you honest by insisting that you practice writing exams. The best guarantor of success for both the essays and the Performance Tests is to practice taking the test--and to receive expert feedback from someone who knows what passes, a former Bar grader.|
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